Tuesday, February 22

no. 387

387 is my new lucky number.  Rephrase:  new favourite number since I don't really believe in lucky items (poor bunnies).  It was my very first race number.  And, the words you have all been waiting for....I FINISHED!!!!!!

2:11:55 for 198th place.  Apparently you don't get money for 198th place.  I wonder if they knew it was my first race ever.  Oh, and that I ran it on the second day of the crimson tide (and I ain't talkin' 'bout football).  I think that alone should bump me up about 60 spots.  Just for the record:  that is not last place.  There were about 270 half marathoners out there.  I cannot confirm or deny if everyone I beat was already a grandparent.  Oh wait, it does show ages and SUCCESS!  Many were in their early 20s.  Woot woot.  I was 75/131 for women.  So middle of the pack.  I'll take it!

A big shout out to Hi-C who kicked the race's ass (and mine too) with a very respectable 2:03:22!!!  Wow!  157th place overall, 53/131 for the ladies.  A blazing pace.

How 'bout a trip/race recap?

We left with our road crew (RipVan and Babo) on the Greyhound around 930am on Saturday.  Babo valiantly carried Hi-C's bags to "preserve her strength".  I carried rolled my own bags so that probably accounted for the discrepancies between our finish times....

Before leaving I had printed off a few basic maps, enough to get me to the place I would be staying and to the War Museum to pick up our race kits.  That was it.  Apparently I thought I would just immediately know the city from some sort of geographical sixth sense that I have never before possessed.  The pit crew and Hi-C were staying at a hostel but I had arranged to stay with a friend and do some catching up*.  Not knowing the city or thinking to bring an actual map meant that I was fairly trapped unless Hi-C or her kind friend from Ottawa could give me directions. Not sure how I managed such a rookie travel mistake.

The temperature was insanely cold when we arrived and the wind was even meaner.  Getting in at 2:20pm I was determined to make it to the War Museum for our kits by the 3pm shut down.  After 5 minutes wasted at the bus stop with no OCTranspo in sight and losing the feeling in my face and I hands I grabbed my bag and ran for it.  Well, jogged for it.  Managing to look ridiculous and get to the kits on time (you're welcome, Hi-C).

That night friends of RipVan and Hi-C kindly had us over for pasta to help us carb-load.  RipVan agreed to run a 3km race on grass some day (now it is documented forever).  Full of carbs I crashed at about 1030pm but not before checking out my very first race swag bag!  A long sleeved-tee (just cotton though), a bag, some vegan bite-sized granola bars and an energy gel.  I think they threw those in last minute since we got the "heat endurance formula".  Was that their idea of a joke?  Oh well,  I'm happy to have it.  Perhaps I'll bring it to Kenya. 

Let me explain something to you:  the course was beautiful and horrendous.  It was a heartbreaker and a spirit-killer (for me at least).  A half marathon is 21.1km.  They designed the course so you ran the same 2.5 strip 8 times (out to a parking lot along the water and right back 4 times).  If you encountered a hill you didn't much like on the first pass you knew you would be seeing it again.  And again.  And again.  And again.  Oh, plus the last 1.1km was a bonus lap around the War Museum parking lot.  Fun event but a little soul crushing.  The temperature was about -12.
 Fast forward a few hours and here I am leaving the house (plus a nice shot of Sheldon).  The race was in walking distance so I bundled up and headed out to get my time chip before 730am even though the race wasn't scheduled to begin until 830am. 
The pit crew and Hi-C greeted me on arrival and I got my very first time chip! (See a theme of firsts?).  It looks like I'm on house arrest.
Proudly displaying my number as we prep on the floor of the War Museum.  We had an hour to kill before the big race.
 Hi-C got some help with her number.

 (Above) Big thanks to the support crew!  They woke up early, watched our stuff and cheered, providing me the necessary boost at the end to pick up speed to cross the finish line. (Below) No wimpy starting gun for this race.  Starting cannon.  It was terrifying.
 In amongst the crowd of 1400 runners just waiting to start.
 Another crowd shot.  Fairly daunting for my first race but now I know what to expect:  an insane crush of people.
 Me on the last lap.  After the same lap 4 times I was becoming ecstatic at the idea of never seeing the course again.  You can kinda see the parliament buildings in the background.
 Apparently they give medals for 157th and 198th place!  We're all special.

Lessons learned:
-Just because they say you need to pick up your time chips at 730 (1 hour before the race) doesn't mean you actually do.  Sleep a little longer.
-There are pros and cons of having a GPS on race day.  Knowing your pace is helpful.  Hearing the beep for every kilometer just constantly reminds you how many stinkin' kilometers you have left to go. 
-Choose races that have routes  that are giant loops of constantly changing scenery.
-Spot gummies will freeze solid in your pocket at -12 celcius.
-I am not a natural runner, eating poorly and neglecting parts of my training will result in poorer times.  I get out exactly what I put into my preparation.

*Long story short, she ended up being in Africa this weekend.  Her roommates were lovely hosts and so kind to let me stay anyway.


Meredith said...

BRAVO Katie. Perhaps someday I'll run a race with you. (that's my indirect way of saying you're inspiring me.)

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS!!!!!!!!! You're a freak of nature!! :p

Anonymous said...

What an OPTIMAL job, Katie V!!! Congratulations you celebrity/pack of gum/epic machine of a distance runner!!!

Katie V. said...

Thanks everyone! Mere: you should read my next post and join a bunch of us for the 5 or 10k in April. I'm glad you're inspired. I tend to be good at inspiring people to run better than me lol.